Sonnet 114: Or Whether Doth My Mind, Being Crowned With You

Or whether doth my mind, being crowned with you,
Drink up the monarch's plague, this flattery?
Or whether shall I say mine eye saith true,
And that your love taught it this alchemy,
To make of monsters, and things indigest,
Such cherubins as your sweet self resemble,
Creating every bad a perfect best
As fast as objects to his beams assemble?
O, 'tis the first, 'tis flattery in my seeing,
And my great mind most kingly drinks it up;
Mine eye well knows what with his gust is 'greeing,
And to his palate doth prepare the cup.
If it be poisoned, 'tis the lesser sin
That mine eye loves it and doth first begin.

by William Shakespeare

Comments (3)

_______________________ This sonnet, taking up again the ideas of the previous one, hinges on a quasi-philosophical conundrum as to which of the two, the eye or the mind, are guilty of the greatest sin, the mind in being deceived by flattery, or the eye in transforming all base images by a sort of arcane alchemy into images of the youth. Why either of these should be regarded as sinful is not clearly stated, unless it is harking back once again to the possibility of idolatry and idolatrous loving, first raised in Sonnet 105 and made the subject of various speculations thereafter. __________________________
Here the possibility that the eye and the mind are independent (or might be so) is exploited in a way that befits the conceit of a metaphysical poem, without any sure resolution being achieved. One is left at the end doubting which of the two, the eye or the mind, is the most guilty, or indeed whether either is guilty of anything other than too much loving. shakespeares-sonnets.com/
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